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Ethnicity and Social Work Practice$
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Carole B. Cox and Paul H. Ephross

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780195099317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195099317.001.0001

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Ethnicity and Social Work with Groups

Ethnicity and Social Work with Groups

(p.43) 3 Ethnicity and Social Work with Groups
Ethnicity and Social Work Practice

Carole B. Cox

Paul H. Ephross

Oxford University Press

People are born into groups, develop in groups, and for the most part, die in groups with group identity intact. Individuality is defined in a large part by group membership. Group experiences are categorized through an ethnic lens constructed by ethnic identity that includes, among other factors, shared meanings, constructs, vocabulary, and symbols. Whether or not a social worker has the same ethnic identity as group members can be either positive or negative depending upon the valuation of group members and worker on similarity and differences. Group solidarity and individual achievement are valued differently by ethnic groups and violating historic norms may be perceived as “becoming one of them.” Moreover, self-expression and democracy are maybe valued differently by ethnic groups. Social workers must keep broad fields of vision that allow for the individual group members, the whole group, the sponsoring organization, and the greater society.

Keywords:   group identity, group membership, group solidarity, values, individuality

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